Former Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday said that “no country is getting the job done” when it comes to taking action on climate change and that the US and other nations are “way behind” on curbing the crisis.
“There are great efforts out there, many environmental groups, young people particularly, but no country is getting the job done. I mean the simple reality is that we are way behind, way behind the eight ball,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press.” “Things are getting worse, not better.”
He continued: “So we have our unlikely allies coming together here. There is no group that has people as diverse as ours in terms of nationality, age, gender, ideology, background, life experience, and all of these people have to come together saying, ‘We’ve got to treat this like a war.’ It has to require decision making and organization and efforts that are just not taking place.”
Kerry – who is launching World War Zero, an initiative with a mission of “making the world respond to the climate crisis the same way we mobilized to win World War II” – joins others in warning about the climate threat ahead of a United Nations conference on climate change that runs from December 2-13 in Madrid. Other notable founding members include actor and former California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Democratic President Bill Clinton, former Obama administration Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich, former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams and Cindy McCain, widow of the late Republican Sen. John McCain and chairwoman of the McCain Institute’s board of trustees.
On Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she was leading a delegation of Democratic lawmakers to the UN COP25 to “combat the existential threat of our time: climate crisis.”
“Taking action to protect our planet is a public health decision for clean air and clean water for our children, an economic decision for creating the green, good-paying jobs of the future, a national security decision to address resource competition and climate migration and also a moral decision to be good stewards of God’s creation and pass a sustainable, healthy planet to the next generation,” she said in a statement.
The State Department announced Saturday that it will send a deputy assistant secretary to lead US officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the Treasury Department to the summit.
The Trump administration has steadily worked to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations that aim to limit air and water pollution and stem the impacts of climate change, and officials announced last month that the administration had notified the UN to officially begin the US exit from the Paris climate accord, a landmark agreement to reduce emissions of planet-warming gases.
Kerry, who served as secretary of state under President Barack Obama, has criticized President Donald Trump on climate, saying Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has “offered more leadership” on the issue “in one day or in one week” compared to the President.
Earlier this year, Kerry co-signed a letter sent by former national security officials to the President expressing concerns about how the administration was handling the crisis.